I feel sometimes feel badly posting about my busier life when obviously the Waldorf community prizes slow and simple and being unbusy. I prize that as well, and really enjoy being home! But then I remember: when my older two children were 13 and under, life wasn’t busy! We didn’t have a lot going on.
However, now with having an almost 17 year old with outside classes, a large age gap down to our 13 and 8 year olds, and with plans to treat a few patients (I am a pediatric physical therapist) this fall, plus homeschooling, plus our time-consuming horse care/riding and music stuff….well, life is a little more juggling. It is not overwhelming, but it is busier. And I am at peace with that. I think that is normal for having an older teenager in the house with other children!
I certainly am not superwoman, but I do think being organized a bit helps. When the busier seasons hit with the school year, I will be ready. Here are my top 5 tips for making things work.
- Meal plan and meal prep ahead. One thing I have never let lapse is our home-cooked meals, even in our busiest times. We don’t eat out, and everything I make is fresh and from scratch. Meal planning and meal prepping on Sundays really helps! I just use our library to get all the keto and paleo cookbooks I want, and also search out links for my Pinterest boards. Real Simple has some nice ideas for quick prep or prep ahead meals (here is a sample for easy breakfast recipes ). Everyone in the house can help meal prep, cook, and clean up!
- Work out and have a solid rhythm of prayer, meditation, and intentions. Energy begets energy, so it is important to me to work out in the morning so I have energy for the whole day! Now that my youngest will be 9 in a few months, I finally feel as if I have enough energy to do this, so for those of you with younger children who are feeling exhausted and like mornings are just not a good time, hang on – it’s coming!
- Get enough rest. I can’t do anything if I am exhausted and barely hanging on to consciousness from lack of sleep, so I usually am ready for bed by 10 and asleep between 10 and 11 P.M. If I am really tired, I will go to bed at 9:30.
- Love your home (everyone all together now) ! I can’t clean up after everyone as it is overwhelming so everyone has a part in taking care of our home! I will share some pics on Instagram as to our morning routines and rotations, so if you follow @theparentingpassageway, you will see them!
- Use master lists and a calendar. I always keep a calendar running up to six months out and a to-do list of anything and everything that needs to be done. Some of the items are higher priority than others, so if it doesn’t happen in one week, I just transfer it to the next week! I try to do one to two things a day off our list if I have a long list, but if I have a shorter list I might try to knock things out in one afternoon. It is also important to divide things such as making medical appointments, transportation to and from children’s activities or events, amongst any adults (or older teen drivers) in the family!
- Bonus Tip: As far as homeschooling, I do try to plan quite a bit in the summer. I simply don’t have time to do research for an entire block during the school year, so I try to go into the school year with at least a flow of ideas for every block and academic skill development, if not planned down to the artistic work. I find the artistic work easier to gather inspiration closer to the time we are doing that lesson. This is especially important for fifth grade and up. I also try to look ahead on Saturday or Sunday to my lesson plans for the week and gather supplies, do chalkboard drawings, and generally make sure I have things in order.
- Bonus Tip: Work hard, play hard. Time in nature, time as a family, having a day to just be together as family or go out as a couple is so important. We use family time to really balance out the time we are doing other things and stay connected through meals and this time. Vacations are another way we stay balanced, even if they are just stay-cations! Having fun makes life and hard work worth it and creates happy family memories.
Please share with me your best tips for getting organized!
Blessings and love,